Tag Archives: zucchini

Zucchini Bread & Muffins: Substitutions for the Win!


Don’t be alarmed…but this post contains TWO…yes TWO recipes at the bottom! ūüôā

Recently we were away visiting my partner’s brother¬†on the family farm. ¬†Aside from a lovely piece of land and variety of animals, they also have a fantastic garden that¬†creates more gigantic zucchinis than one knows what to do with!

We came home with four and today I finally used up a couple of them.

A load of bread and a dozen muffins later…I still have zucchini left…

Remaining zucchinis

I think I see a stir fry in our future!

Click here for the recipes or scroll to the bottom of the post.

 

So, to use up the zucchini we had, I decided to make zucchini bread and chocolate zucchini muffins. ¬†The bread turned out awesome! Moist and yet dense enough that it doesn’t fall apart when you cut and butter it.

zucchini bread

The muffins are brilliant too…the only problem is that I left them in 3 or 4 mins too long and the bottoms started to burn. ¬†Luckily they’re slightly crisp but it’s really not noticeable, especially when you’re distracted by the chocolatey goodness!

You can see the crispy bottoms in this picture

You can see the crispy bottoms in this picture

I have to say that I’m extra happy with how they turned out…since I had to substitute ingredients because there were items I either didn’t have or that ran out as I worked. ¬†Substitutions for the win!

Here are the substitutions I made….

  • Subbed in grape seed oil for the vegetable oil
  • Cut the oil needed for the bread in half and added butter instead
  • Substituted honey greek yogourt for sour cream in the muffins
  • Had no brown sugar so used only white sugar for the muffins
  • Added nutmeg to the muffins

 

The bread is lovely and semi sweet whereas the muffins are chocolatey and delicious…no sign of healthy zucchini in them anywhere! (I swear though, I DID add it!)

I have altered the recipes below to include my substitutions since I really like how everything turned out.

 

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

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  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp¬†cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 cup grape seed¬†oil
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup greek yogourt (I used “honey” flavour and it worked out fine)
  • 1 1/2 cups grated zucchini
  • 1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
  • zest from one orange (optional) (I didn’t use this ingredient but saw it mentioned and am curious how it would taste so I thought I would leave it in. ¬†Terry’s chocolate orange anyone? ūüėČ
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter or grease a muffin tin.
  2. Whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, cocoa powder in a small bowl until combined. Set aside.
  3. Beat together sugars, oil, and eggs until slightly fluffy.
  4. Stir in vanilla and yogourt.
  5. Fold in the grated zucchini (and zest if using).
  6. Add to the dry ingredients. Stir to combine and add the chocolate chips. Don’t stir too much or the dough will bake denser than desired.
  7. Fill your muffin tin, each spot a bit over halfway.
  8. Bake for 15-20 or until a toothpick entered in the center comes clean. (At 20 minutes, my muffin bottoms got a wee bit burnt so check on them at 15 mins)

 Delicious and Moist Zucchini Bread

zucchini bread

 

  • 2 1/4 cups¬†all-purpose¬†flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons¬†baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon¬†ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon¬†baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon¬†freshly¬†ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3¬†large¬†eggs
  • 3/4 cup¬†packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup grape seed¬†oil
  • 1/4 cup soft butter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons¬†vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups grated zucchini
  1. Preheat oven to 350¬įF
  2. Grease a 9″ bread pan with butter
  3. Mix dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg, and salt in a bowl
  4. In a separate bowl, mix the eggs, sugars, oil, butter and vanilla
  5. Fold wet mixture into dry mixture until just combined and then fold in the zucchini.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread it into an even layer. Bake for 1 hour or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean
  7. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool slightly, and give it about 15 minutes before transferring the bread from the pan to the rack.
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Zucchini Cheddar Muffins


It has been a long time coming, but being able to, in a moment’s notice, decide to cook or bake and just KNOW that you can do it…
it’s an amazing thing for someone who, two years ago, didn’t know her way around her own kitchen.

A couple of weeks ago, I was at a friend’s house and we were all waiting for some out-of-town guests to arrive. ¬†About thirty minutes before the scheduled arrival time, my friend’s husband (who is also my friend of course!) commented that “perhaps I’ll make some cookies”.

I checked my watch (okay, my iPhone) and looked at him somewhat surprised. “But they’ll be here any minute.”

What came out of the following conversation was the point that once you’d made a food enough times, you could do it effortlessly and quickly…at any time. ¬†He had so much experience making cookies that he could throw the basic recipe together in minutes and simply add whatever cookie…accessories, shall we say….that he had on hand.

I haven’t gotten to that point with cookies yet. I have worked with substitutions but ¬†I still need a recipe.
I’m sure B would argue that means I simply HAVE NOT MADE ENOUGH COOKIES! So, I’ll fix that…eventually. ūüėČ

But yesterday, I had a similar moment with muffins. ¬†I had company coming over and shortly before arrival, not 30 mins I admit…more like an hour and a half ahead of time, I suddenly decided to make muffins. ¬†Again, I don’t necessarily have a basic recipe memorized, but I have mixed the base ingredients enough times now that it felt do-able.

It was an awesome feeling!
To feel confident enough to start making a mess in the kitchen as company were on their way, knowing that you could finish and even have the dishes done before they arrived!
It has taken a long time to feel that kind of comfort in my kitchen.

I like it.

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 So, yes, this recipe was simple.  The hardest part was grating the zucchini and cheddar, but put on some good music, start singing along and enjoying yourself,
and suddenly every vegetable in your kitchen has been grated while you were zoned out dancing to Peter Murphy!

Dry ingredients in one bowl…wet in another.

Fold the wet into the dry and then add the zucchini and cheddar.

Could it be any easier?

Mixed dough, ready to be baked!

Mixed dough, ready to be baked!

I changed a few things in the recipe. Partly because I like applesauce in baked goods and also partly because I feel proud of the fact that I can confidently substitute and NOT follow the recipe exactly. (This is notable. ¬†I am a Capricorn and, when I began cooking, I REQUIRED a recipe. ¬†Read the conversation at the beginning of¬†this¬†entry¬†to see how to make a Capricorn’s head explode.)

So, for the 2 eggs, I substituted 2/3 cup applesauce.

For the buttermilk, I made my own using lemon juice: 1 1/4 tbsp lemon juice in a measuring cup, followed by enough milk to have 1 1/4 cups.

Then, I lightly coated my muffin tray with some butter, filled the cups? (Is that what you call them?) and placed the tray in the 400 degree oven for 25 minutes.

These muffins didn’t rise very much so you can really fill the tray. ¬†I left 1/4″ or less at the top of each and that worked out well.

Simple, straightforward and delicious.

Make them just before company arrives. I dare you!

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Zucchini Cheddar Muffins

 

photo (5)

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs (I used 2/3 cup of applesauce)
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk (I used 1 1/4 tbsp lemon juice plus enough milk to make 1 1/4 cups of “buttermilk”)
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup packed shredded zucchini
  • 3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

 

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Whisk together dry ingredients: flour, baking powder and soda, sugar, salt.
  3. Mix eggs OR applesauce, buttermilk, butter in another bowl.  Gently fold that mixture into the dry mixture.
  4. Fold in  the zucchini and cheddar.
  5. Prepare a muffin tray, I added a light coating of butter. ¬†These muffins didn’t rise too much so I was able to fill my tray, leavning the slightest bit of room at the top of each.
  6. Bake 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. 
  7. Allow to cool for 10 min before removing from tray.

Makes 12 muffins.


Curried Zucchini Soup


I was looking for some recipes to try a couple of weeks ago, specifically meals that would work on hot days as Toronto has been cooking for the past month and it shows no signs of letting up any time soon.

In my dozens of links and tabs, I came across a recipe for Curried Zucchini Soup and, although I initially bypassed it, I found myself going back to the page and bookmarking it to try at a future date. ¬†That future day was two days later! ūüôā

One thing about this recipe that caught my attention was the addition of rice to the soup.  I knew it was a blended soup and I was curious how the texture would turn out with the rice blended in.

I took some liberties with the recipe, adding more garlic and more spices than the recipe called for, and the soup turned out great! ¬†A light, slow burn on the back of the tongue but not so spicy that you’re scrabbling for milk afterwards! I also neglected to take as many pictures as I should have so this entry will require some imagination on your part.

Click here for the recipe or scroll to the bottom of the post.

So the typical beginning to most soups, at least in my experience, is the tenderizing of the onions. This is something that I constantly have trouble with, because I always burn them.

Yes, you’d think that would be an easy fix, wouldn’t you? ¬†“Just, um, start it all off a little cooler? Maybe? Just a thought.” And I do! ¬†At least I think I do every time…and every time it’s still too high.

Caramelizing onions, sort of, with olive oil

While the onions were doing their thing, I diced up a number of zucchini. ¬†(Zucchinis? Zucchin-eye? Whatever.) I’m really liking the chopping and dicing part of cooking, especially when there’s a lot to do. One ¬†you get your rhythm down, your hands start moving of their own accord and I felt myself relaxing…almost as though I were meditating. ¬†I suppose it is a sort of meditation, a repetitive motion that allows your mind and body to relax and focus on one simple thing.

In this case it worked, and I think I diced up about 3 cups or more before I realized I had gone beyond the recipe requirements! ūüôā ¬†For the record, I used them all anyway.

Once my onions were…ahem…a lovely burnish caramel colour…I added the garlic and zucchini with a little bit of salt. The recipe calls for 3 cloves of garlic but I’m pretty sure I went over that. I cheated and used pre-minced garlic in a jar, 2-3 tsp worth. ¬†Yeah yeah, I like my garlic!

Stirred everything together, letting it sizzle for a bit….Sizzle, such a good cooking word! I think this word should be used as a verb more often. ¬†But I digress.

A few sizzle minutes later, the recipe prompts you to add the stock, the curry powder and the rice. I started with the curry and stirred it in first, followed by the additional ingredients.

Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and let it simmer for half an hour.  It should end up like this:

Simmered soup!

Now comes the fun part!  Blending!

This part was so fun that I wasn’t able to get pictures of it without getting soup all over the camera so you’ll have to use your imagination ūüėČ ¬†This is also the point where you taste and spice.

I added more salt, a lot of pepper and a good pinch of cayenne during the blending process, tasting it often until it suited.

Blended, yummy curry zucchini soup!

I wish I’d gotten a nice shot of this soup in a bowl, with a piece of bread…you know the “Food Shot” that makes your mouth water! Instead, the above shot is what you get. ūüėČ Just take me word for it, this soup was delicious! I froze a number of servings and it reheats well too! ¬†Just be sure to spice it and keep tasting as you go. ¬†I don’t think any of my seasoning amounts matched the recipe! lol

Curried Zucchini Soup

  • i tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 pounds zucchini, diced (about 7 cups diced)
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder (more to taste)
  • 6 cups chicken stock, vegetable stock or water
  • 1/4 cup basmati rice
  • Salt to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper (I like a lot of it in this soup)
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large, heavy soup pot and add the onion. Cook, stirring, until it is tender, about 5 minutes. Add a generous pinch of salt, the garlic and the zucchini and stir for about a minute, until the garlic smells fragrant. Add the curry powder, stir together, and add the stock or water, the rice and salt to taste. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer 30 minutes. Taste and adjust salt.

2. Purée the soup with an immersion blender or a food mill or in batches in a blender, taking care to remove the lid or take out the center insert and to cover with a towel to avoid hot splashes. Return to the pot, heat through, add pepper and cayenne to taste and stir in the lemon juice. Serve, garnishing each bowl with paper-thin slices of zucchini, chopped chives and croutons if desired.

Recipe taken from http://www.cookinghealthyfoods.com/pureed-zucchini-soup-with-curry-recipes-for-health/#.T-SmOGBWbrE.email


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